To say that the right-handed world grossly misunderstands those that are left-handed is an understatement. It wasn’t that long ago that teachers would “correct” students by taking writing utensils out of the left-hand of a child’s fingers and place it in their right hands. As a society we might not be ripping the crayons out of our kids hands and telling them they are wrong for being left-handed, but there are many menial tasks that a right-handed person performs daily without thinking about it that a left-handed person could find a struggle. Southpaws are truly the least recognized minority among us.Credit: By Biswarup Ganguly (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Right-Brained Myth:
While the myth that left-handed people are “right brained” has been debunked, there are still some things related to brain function that these individuals are more susceptible to, such as having a higher rate of dealing with mental illnesses. Upwards of 20% of all schizophrenics are left-handed. There has also been some research on a recently discovered gene, LRRTM1, a gene that contributes to being left-handed, that they believe may have something to do with mental disorders as well.
Lefties may also be more likely to deal with post traumatic stress disorder. Also, they have greater tendencies to be more anxious about decisions, Researchers aren’t completely clear as to why this is, but they think it has to do with the way the brain processed the information.
There has been very little advancement in the way of making products for those that have a dominant left hand. These people are left to just deal with figuring out how to use their non-dominant hand to accomplish tasks. Since everything is set up for right-handers, those that are not tend to score lower on tests. This is not due to lack of knowledge, just functionally more difficult for a left-hander to sit in a desk made for a right-handed individual. Even our written language system was created without a single thought to left-handed writing.
Left-handers aren’t completely left without their advantages. Many of these people gain advantages at certain sports, such as baseball, fencing, boxing, and tennis. In this area, many right-handed people have to “reverse” their thinking when trying to anticipate what their left handed opponent will do. Gaming is also something that these people are better at. They are made to use their non-dominant hand in many aspects of their lives, so it helps the user when working controllers for video games. Typing is an area that left-handers soar. Over 1,000 words can be typed with just the left-hand alone.
Life for the left-handers among us is not always convenient. However, it is safe to say that many left-handed people are very versatile and know how to get things done.